A senior staffer in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office who was forced to resign last week is apologizing for what he calls his “unacceptable” behaviour after allegations of sexual misconduct were levelled against him.
Andrew Kimber, who was executive director of issues management for Ford, issued a statement on Twitter late Thursday afternoon saying he is taking responsibility for his actions and will seek unspecified treatment.
While Kimber’s statement does not detail his behaviour, a Toronto Star report says he allegedly sent sexually inappropriate text messages to at least five female Progressive Conservative staffers with photos attached.
The newspaper says the text messages were allegedly first reported by one staffer, after which four additional women came forward.
Kimber, who did not respond to requests for comment, apologized to those affected by his actions.
“Everyone has a right to live and work free from harassment, and I’m sorry for those who I have hurt,” Kimber said in his message. “I am also sorry to my friends and colleagues in the Ford government and the disservice I brought to the office.”
Ford’s office did not comment on the reported details of the allegations against Kimber.
Kimber’s resignation last Friday came on the same day Progressive Conservative Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson was forced out of Ford’s cabinet and the Tory caucus.
Initially, the Tory government would only say that Kimber resigned from his post in the premier’s office and that Wilson was resigning to deal with “addiction issues.”
Days later Ford confirmed both men were facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Speaking at an event in eastern Ontario on Wednesday, the premier said that his office had initially refused to confirm published reports about allegations against Kimber and Wilson in order to protect the identity of the complainants.
Ford said Kimber was removed from his post “immediately” after the premier’s office learned of misconduct allegations against the staffer.
“He lasted about a minute when we found out,” Ford said earlier this week when he addressed how his government handled the situation.
Opposition legislators have been critical of the Ford government’s handling of the matter, with NDP deputy leader Sara Singh saying the Tories initially tried to “cover up” the allegations.